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Litigation and Inequality : Federal Diversity Jurisdiction in Industrial America, 1870-1958 - Edward A. Purcell

Litigation and Inequality

Federal Diversity Jurisdiction in Industrial America, 1870-1958

Hardcover Published: 31st December 1992
ISBN: 9780195073294
Number Of Pages: 464

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Litigation and Inequality explores the dynamic and intricate relationship between legal and social change through the prism of litigation tactics and out-of-court settlement practices from the 1870s to the 1950s.
Developing the synthetic historical concept of a "social litigation system," Purcell analyzes the role of both substansive and procedural law, as well as the impact of social and political factors in shaping the de facto processes of litigation and claims-disputing. Focusing on tort and insurance contract disputes between individuals and national corporations, he examines the changing social and economic significance of the choice between state and national courts that federal diversity jurisdiction gave litigants.
Litigation and Inequality scrutinizes the increasingly sophisticated methods that parties developed to exploit their ability to choose between forums. It also traces the changing responses of the courts and legislatures to the escalation of tactical maneuvering. It locates the origins of modern litigation practice in the quarter century after 1910.
Purcell points to fundamental flaws in the "efficiency" theory of tort law of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. He identifies specific ways in which the legal system regularly subsidized corporate enterprise. He seriously qualifies and refines the progressive charge that the federal courts favored business interests.
The book argues that during the period from the turn of the century to World War I - especially the critical period from 1905 to 1908 - the Supreme Court reoriented the federal judicial system and essentially created the twentieth century federal judiciary. It also challenges the idea that diversity jurisdiction is best understood as a device to protect nonresidents from local prejudice. It illuminates a range of related historical and legal issues, from the ostensible "formalism" of the late nineteenth century judicial thinking to the origins of the workmen's compensation movement.
Examining these developments with clarity and insight, this work will interest historians and sociologists, as well as lawyers and legal scholars.

"A superb and important book. It is at once readable and closely reasoned. Perhaps most importantly, it combines a meticulously told but potentially abstruse story with a methodology that allows Purcell to draw general conclusions of large scale.--American Journal of Legal History "[An} innovative and magisterial work...Litigation and Inequality is one of the most important works of American legal history to appear in our time."--New York University Law Review "A compelling history...."--Social Science Quarterly "Advances a new way of thinking about a portentous era in U.S. legal history."--Michigan Law Review "A significant contribution to literature on the controversy over the role of law in allocating economic power, reinforcing more traditional Progressive assertions of the pro-business character of US law."--Choice "A superb and important book. It is at once readable and closely reasoned. Perhaps most importantly, it combines a meticulously told but potentially abstruse story with a methodology that allows Purcell to draw general conclusions of large scale.--American Journal of Legal History "[An} innovative and magisterial work...Litigation and Inequality is one of the most important works of American legal history to appear in our time."--New York University Law Review "A compelling history...."--Social Science Quarterly "Advances a new way of thinking about a portentous era in U.S. legal history."--Michigan Law Review "A significant contribution to literature on the controversy over the role of law in allocating economic power, reinforcing more traditional Progressive assertions of the pro-business character of US law."--Choice "A magnificent book. Strikingly original in its thesis and methodological approach, solidly researched and documented, clearly and carefully written....Purcell does for the arcana of federal diversity doctrines what Perry Miller did for the similarly hermetic doctrines of New England theology: he rolls up his sleeves, masters the phenomenal intricacies, and reveals the hidden drama and tensions. Purcell then takes the additional step of demonstrating the important social implications of technical legal doctrines. His ability to uncover the legal significance of, for example, growing urbanization and access to automobiles, is extraordinarily impressive, as are his arguments about the importance of the minimum amount-in-controversy for federal diversity jurisdiction. Purcell's efforts to articulate the necessity of examining an entire litigation system are well taken and should prove methodologically influential."--Robert C. Post, University of California at Berkeley School of Law "[An] innovative and magisterial work of legal history....Rather than presenting an abstract, historical-doctrinal analysis of federal diversity jurisdiction, or a social history of the approaches to litigation by various kinds of plaintiffs and defendants within the context of diversity jurisdiction, Purcell analyzes the shared world of litigation strategies, institutional powers and constraints, and doctrinal possibilities and limitations within which the various groups composing the social litigation system operated."--New York University Law Review "Conceptualizing the relationship between litigation and inequality in systemic terms provides Purcell with a powerful tool for assessing the law's social meaning and practical impact at any one point in time and for interpreting the nature, sources, and social implications of change over time."--Journal of American History "[A] rich, detailed legal history....A tour de force. Purcell masterfully sets the groundwork for the lay reader and dependably guides the exploration of a necessarily technical topic.....This book should receive a wide audience. Legal historians and general practitioners interested in the period 1870 to 1940 will obviously find the work important....Economic historians particularly interested in institutions or game-theoretic approaches to historical analysis will find the book a rich source of ideas for future research."--Journal of Economic History

Introductionp. 3
Origins of a Social Litigation Systemp. 13
The Social Structure of Party Inequality and the Informal Legal Processp. 28
The Federal Common Lawp. 59
The Battle for Forum Control, I: The Jurisdictional Amount and the Limits of Corporate Liabilityp. 87
The Battle for Forum Control, II: Joinder and the Limits of the Systemp. 104
Removal and the Problems of Local Prejudice: Three Perspectives on the Systemp. 127
Contraction and Evolution: The System After 1910p. 148
The Rise of Interstate Forum Shoppingp. 177
Tactical Escalation in Insurance Litigationp. 200
Disintegrationp. 217
Retrospective: History, Procedure, and the Social Role of the Federal Courtsp. 244
Notesp. 293
Indexp. 419
Table of Contents provided by Syndetics. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780195073294
ISBN-10: 0195073290
Audience: Professional
Format: Hardcover
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 464
Published: 31st December 1992
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 23.67 x 15.6  x 3.28
Weight (kg): 0.81